Israel pushes for African migrant deportation

African asylum seekers say Israeli efforts to repatriate them violate their human rights.
Jillian Kestler-D’Amours

Israel has recognised less than 200 asylum seekers as refugees since 1948, human rights groups say [EPA]
Israel has recognised less than 200 asylum seekers as refugees since 1948, human rights groups say [EPA]

(Aljazeera) Tereza Maoun, a 38-year-old mother of six, fled her home in Juba, South Sudan last week when clashes broke out at a nearby military post. When she returned the next morning, she discovered that her house had been ransacked, and all her family’s belongings were gone.

“We found that everything is broken. They didn’t leave for us anything,” said Maoun, who is now staying with friends in another part of the South Sudanese capital. “Even clothes – they took everything from me.”

Maoun had been back in South Sudan for about a year before violence broke out on December 15 between government soldiers and rebel factions in the north. “When we came to Juba, we didn’t know about Juba. Even we didn’t know about South Sudan,” said Maoun, who first left her home country in 2003.

She had lived in Egypt before making a dangerous journey through the Sinai desert in 2007 to reach Israel. But in December 2012, Israel deported her and her family to South Sudan.

Group protection revoked

Maoun was among several hundred South Sudanese refugees deported from Israel after South Sudan became independent in July 2011. The country’s secession from Sudan, Israel argued, meant refugees could safely return home.

In June 2012, they were rounded up, put onto buses and expelled. “You’re not responsible for the future. Those who have been repatriated are people that have agreed to it, and their home country has agreed and cooperated,” said Paul Hirschson, deputy spokesman for the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs. Ream more…

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